Will the Lakers Trade Nick Young This Season?


Grantland’s Zach Lowe released his annual predictions for the NBA season. One of them was that the Los Angeles Lakers will trade a wing player.

This is a reasonable prediction since the Lakers are heavy on wing gunners who love to shoot but do little else. Not exactly a description a winning team needs multiple guys to fit.

Lowe’s most likely scenario is a deal for Nick Young. Most Lakers fans know that since the moment Young signed his extension his name has been involved in trade rumors. His relationship with Byron Scott has only increased these rumors.

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The problem is, nobody wants Young. Reports at last year’s trade deadline indicated that the team shopped him hard with a low asking price. Young was treated the way all your pumpkins will be in a week. Nobody seemed interested in opening up their locker room to the Swag.

So, what’s changed? Lowe has a few ideas to support his trade claim.

The biggest point Lowe made is the skyrocketing cap. Pretty much everyone has some salary room for the next few seasons, and with the way contracts were handed out this summer, Young is actually on a semi-reasonable deal.

As a player, Young is also a very capable three point shooter. He shot a respectable 37 percent last season, even if his over all field goal percentage looked like a number fans would shoot in halftime contests.

While he isn’t the 3-and-D player every team is looking for, Lowe referenced his past work on defense as serviceable when he cares about winning.

Lowe believes that somebody will talk themselves into Young during the season. His specific example was the New Orleans Pelicans. Lowe didn’t mention any specific trades, which leaves us to wonder what the Lakers could get back for Young. Any high expectations are unrealistic. Young would be providing some shooting off the bench for these teams, not something worthy of trading a first rounder.

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The problem with a trade to the Pelicans is that it is difficult for the salaries to match up. If the Pelicans actually wanted to take Young, they would need to give up one of their rotation players. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon are likely the only players the Pelicans wouldn’t consider untouchable whose salaries work for Young.

A trade for either of these two would require the Lakers to give up more, again to make salaries work. There’s no indication that the Lakers have any interest in them, let alone enough to add valuable assets.

A trade such as Anderson for Young and Ryan Kelly could work, but there’s no indication either team would be interested in making the move. The Pelicans signed Anderson because they believe in his ability to play within their offense, while the Lakers are building for the future, something that makes Kelly’s youth more valuable to them than a few months of Anderson. 

Of course the Lakers front office has done some strange things throughout this rebuild. Maybe they believe Anderson could be a valuable piece when they get back to contention? Maybe they want a first shot at signing him? Who knows what Jim Buss could be thinking.

Kelly is a thrift store version of Anderson; it’s unlikely the Pelicans would consider Young worth the downgrade. But hey, if they start off worse than expected, and keep dealing with all these injuries, maybe they get desperate enough.

Depending on how these players start the season, one team might have to toss in a second round pick to even the sides. That’s a deal that could leave both parties happy, but it would take a good shooting start from both Kelly and Young, plus a big disappointment from the Pelicans to make them do this deal.

While Zach Lowe thinks there’s hope to move Young, looking around the NBA landscape makes it look like Swaggy 3 will continue goofing off in LA, to the joy of some Lakers fans and the annoyance of many others.

What do you think the Lakers should do with Nick Young? Let us know in the comments.

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